The Marquis Who Mustn’t
by Courtney Milan
At this point we’ve reviewed so many Courtney Milan books on this site that the reviews are kind of a foregone conclusion – you know the book is going to get a good grade, the question is just – how good? My answer for The Marquis Who Mustn’t is: Very Good, especially if you are in the mood for pure heartwarming material. Evil is vanquished. Wrongs are righted. Apologies are made. And of course, love wins.
What I appreciate most about Courtney Milan is that she makes every book fresh. Common themes run through her work but I never feel like I’m reading the same thing with a new cover. Milan always provides something new for the reader to geek out over. In this book, it’s pottery. In the last book, it was brown sauce, something I didn’t know I could geek out over (but I totally did).There’s also always layers and layers of character development in her books. In this case, I expected a powerful romance. I did not expect an even more powerful depiction of a mother/daughter relationship that moved me right down to my core.
Aside from the relationships that the protagonists, Naomi and Kai, have with their relatives and their fellow villagers, my favorite aspect of this romance is that Naomi and Kai are not interested in changing one another, and they have a kind of trust mingled with boundaries that one rarely sees in fiction or in life. In many cases as the plot progresses, something is set up to be a dealbreaker, but when the protagonists encounter these potential deal breakers they tend to react with, “OK, I accept this new thing I’ve learned about you, and I will incorporate it into my life under my terms.” It leads to a fascinating dynamic and loads of interesting and moving character growth.
No one who reads Milan, or this site, will be surprised to see an A grade here. If this is your first Milan, I’d suggest starting with the first Wedgeford Trial book, The Duke Who Didn’t. However, The Marquis Who Mustn’t is a solid stand alone. It’s a great romance, it involves people who solve problems creatively and in interesting and unexpected ways, it has history and art, it has complicated family dynamics, it explores historical diversity in England, and, as I mentioned a long time ago in this sentence, it has a whopping good love story. Full squee for this installment in a long line of squee-worthy books.
– Carrie S
One good fraud deserves another…
Miss Naomi Kwan has long wanted to take ambulance classes so that she can save lives. But when she tries to register, she’s told she needs permission from the man in charge of her. It would be incredibly wrong to claim that the tall, taciturn Chinese nobleman she just met is her fiancé, but Naomi is desperate, and desperate times call for fake engagements.
To her unending surprise, Liu Ji Kai goes along with her ruse. It’s not that Kai is nice. He’s in Wedgeford to practice his family business, and there’s no room for “nice” when you’re out to steal a fortune. It’s not that the engagement is convenient; a fake fiancée winding herself into his life and his heart is suboptimal when he plans to commit fraud and flee the country. His reason is Kai and Naomi were betrothed as children. He may have disappeared for seventeen years, but their engagement isn’t actually fake. It’s the only truth he’s telling.
Historical: European, Historical: Other, Romance
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